East Hampton Delays Tax Grievance Day

James J. Mackin

The Town of East Hampton rescheduled property tax assessment grievance day to Tuesday, June 16. It had been scheduled for May 21. The town’s tentative tax roll was filed May 1 and can be viewed online.

The process, discussed during the virtual May 7 town board meeting, will be quite different this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The resolution pushing the date back includes language from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s April 20 executive order making the town’s action possible. The resolution changes the law to allow “notice of the filing of the tentative roll to be published solely online so long as the date for hearing complaints is prominently displayed, to suspend in-person inspection of the tentative roll, and to allow local boards of assessment review to hear complaints remotely by conference call or similar service, provided complainants can present their complaints through such service and the public has the ability to view or listen to such proceeding.”

The tentative assessment roll is a PDF document over 3100 pages long and can be accessed through the assessor’s office page on the town’s website. The site also features a guidebook on the grievance process, and the needed forms. As of May 11 not all the information had been updated to reflect the town board’s resolution, though the main assessor’s page was up to date. Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc also discussed the May 31 due date for property taxes. He told the board, and members of the public watching the teleconferenced meeting on LTV, that when he had once went to pay his taxes June 1, he learned the hard way that if even just one day late, you’re forced to pay your taxes to the county, instead of the town, and there can be penalties involved.

Amid this novel coronavirus spread however, the supervisor said that “Suffolk County has the ability to waive the penalties and interest due” if the inability to pay by May 31 can be shown to be directly related to the pandemic.

Another resolution passed by the town board May 7 was the approval of all five East Hampton Town hamlet studies, which will be incorporated into the town’s comprehensive plan, its blueprint for future development and change. All five saw some measure of controversy arise during the drafting process, which took several years.

Van Scoyoc also paid homage to the late Rick Del Mastro, the former chairman of the Wainscott Citizens Advisory Committee, who had long pushed the idea of a hamlet study for Wainscott. Del Mastro died last month after contracting COVID-19.

The supervisor also praised his predecessor, Larry Cantwell, for his role in moving the five hamlet studies along, so that they could be completed simultaneously, as well as former planning director for the town, Marguerite Wolffsohn.

The hamlet studies are available online on the town’s website.

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